So Donald, whatever happened to that lawsuit that your attorneys were “drafting” up last week? Shortly after The New York Times published an article providing details from women who accused Trump of sexually assaulting them, reports emerged that Trump’s attorneys were drafting a defamation lawsuit to be filed very, very soon. It’s been a week now. They must be pretty slow drafters. So, what the heck happened? Perhaps, Trump’s lawyer, Mark Kasowitz, quietly whispered into the ear of the Republican presidential hopeful that he really has absolutely no case against The Times. Or maybe he brought up that fact that if he went forward with the suit, Trump would expose himself to some painful and potentially embarrassing discovery.
“I am willing to bet anything that either Trump won’t sue, or if he does, he will later withdraw the suit. He simply can’t have this case go into discovery where he would have to answer all sorts of questions, much less a trial. And he won’t,” LawNewz.com founder Dan Abrams said.
What we know so far: Trump campaign sources say they’re drafting lawsuits against New York Times & Palm Beach Post… https://t.co/70KOR27a9E
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) October 13, 2016
Senior Trump adviser confirms campaign drafting lawsuit against NYT
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) October 13, 2016
On the same day the Times article was published, Kasowitz wrote a demand for a retraction. “We hereby demand that you immediately cease any further publication of this article, remove it from your website and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology,” Kasowitz said in his letter to the Times. Seemed pretty serious. But, since then Trump’s people have been radio silent. I emailed Kasowitz yesterday to find out when he plans to file the claim, but haven’t heard back.
Shortly after Trump’s demand letter, David McCraw, an attorney for the New York Times, wrote a “come and get us” response, which has since gone viral. The letter outlined why The Times believes Trump has absolutely no case against the newspaper because Trump himself has been the one bragging on tape about his desire to sexually assault women.
“Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself,” he stated in the letter.
And, in fact, we checked in with Lin Wood, one of the highest-profile defamation lawyers in the U.S., who has represented Richard Jewell, the family of JonBenet Ramsey, Gary Condit, and Herman Cain. He’s not shy about suing the media. He also believes Trump doesn’t have much of a case:
“Another problematic issue will be proof of falsity by clear and convincing evidence. On the face of it, that burden is considerably more difficult to meet in “he says/she says” cases. What witnesses or other objective proof exist to demonstrate that the accuser is lying? If that burden is met then the question becomes what evidence shows that the Times knew the statements were false or probably false? Those burdens of proof will be on Mr. Trump as the Plaintiff.”
On the heels of the article, Trump promised he would come forward with evidence that the two women in the piece were not telling the truth. So what’s this proof that Jessica Leeds, the woman who says she was assaulted on a plane, is lying? The Trump campaign offered up a British man who claims he was sitting across from the accuser on the plane ride in the 1980s. Anthony Gilberthorpe told The New York Post that Leeds was all over Trump and that “she wanted to marry him.” Only thing, this “witness” also had a bit of a troubled history himself. He, apparently, once admitted to supplying underage age boys to British politicians. Yeah, we can’t make this stuff up. As my colleague at Mediaite pointed out, Trump’s people probably should have done a little Googling before offering up that exclusive.
So, I’m not ruling out the possibility that Trump will file a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times. He may very well pull the legal trigger. And, to be sure, he’s no novice in the courtroom. After all, its no fun being known as the “the boy who cried libel.” So maybe it will happen or maybe he’s just hoping we will all forget about last week’s threat as we plow forward to November 8th.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in the articles are those of just the author.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.